One-Act Play Sweeps Sub-Section Festival

  • Advance to section finals; encore performance Friday at 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Erin Gaffaney

The cast and crew of the PCHS One-Act Play will be advancing to Section Finals for an unprecedented fifth year in a row, following their first place finish Saturday at Sub-Section Festival here in Pine City.  Pine City’s comedy, “slasreveR neveS” by Alan Haehnel, is a creative parody of theatrical convention – and convention in general.

According to senior Rachel Sparling, who plays Mrs. Chillywine in the show, the play is “hilarious.”  While the first few minutes might leave audience members a bit confused, “once you understand the gimmick of it, you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing.”  Sparling also complimented her fellow cast members, saying, “one of the thing that makes it so funny is that everyone is really dedicated to their part and this is probably one of the best one-acts we’ve done in years.”

Director Brad Mariska gives huge props to his cast and crew, as well as several adult volunteers who have assisted with the production. “A program this successful is definitely a collaborative effort and there are a lot of people who have lent their time and talent to this show.”

Saturday’s 6 plays were adjudicated by a three-member panel of theatre experts, all of which gave their first place vote to Pine City.  One judge said the show was “brilliantly done,” calling the performances “melodramatic perfection.”

Also advancing to sections was Mora High School with their model Moliere farce, “The Imaginary Cuckold.”   Other schools participating were Rush City (3rd), Maranatha Academy (4th), Academy for Sciences and Agriculture (5th), and Braham (6th).  Pine City will face off again perennial powerhouses St. Paul Academy, St. Croix Lutheran, Foley, and Milaca.  The Section Finals are hosted by Milaca this year.

The theatre program is also again partnering with the Pine Community Food Shelf.  This past fall, cast and crew collected more than 600 pounds of food and over $100 cast during their 7th Annual “Trick-or-Treat for the Food Shelf” event.  Over $400 in additional funds were raised by last weekend’s performances of “slasreveR neveS.”

There will be one more chance to see the play this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Pine City Elementary Auditorium.  Admission is only $2, which will be donated to the Pine Community Food Shelf.

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Pine City Impresses at Music Listening Contest

A team of three Advanced Music students from Pine City traveled to St. Cloud on Friday and took part in the Region 5 competition of the Minnesota Music Listening Contest (MLC).  Celebrating its 25th year, Pine City was taking part in the competition for the second time, having won their region in 2008 and advancing to the State Finals.   In this statewide contest, students develop skills in active listening and critical analysis by learning to identify composers, cultures, periods and styles.  The 5-round, 2-hour long listening contest is an exercise challenges students both in advanced aural recognition and academic information about composers and compositions.

This year’s team once again turned in impressive results, placing 4th out of 15 teams.  Scoring 71 out of a possible 100 points, Pine City stacked up well.   Advancing to State were teams from Montevideo (89 points) and Buffalo (79 points).

Pine City’s team consisted of three juniors who are taking Pine City’s Advanced Music History and Theory course: Alex Frerich, Jacob White, and Adam Martin.  The team was coached by music instructor Bradley Mariska.

Pine City has been named a “Best Community for Music Education in America” by the NAMM Foundation in both 2010 and 2011.

USDA’s local Rural Development Projects

Every quarter, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases a listing (found here) of all rural development properties within our region. The construction of these properties is the result of USDA’s support and commitment to low-income rural housing.

The USDA has five direct mortgage programs. They include, Rural Rental Housing, Guaranteed Rental Housing, Housing Preservation Grants, Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants, and Rental Assistance Programs. Each of these programs provides a source of funding to ensure that these projects are completed and can serves as a improvement to local housing availability.

  • The Rental Assistance program is designed to close the gap between the rent that a tenant is required to pay and the amount that is thirty percent of adjusted income. For this program, a tenant that falls into the low-income to very low-income category is qualified for this particular program. If they are accepted, then the tenant pays their portion of rent, up to 30% of their monthly income and the remaining rent is subsidized by the USDA.
  • The Housing Preservation Grants program provides grants to sponsoring organizations to repair or rehabilitate low income housing that is located in areas with a high concentration of need. The funds must also be used in a community with less than 20,000 individuals.
  • The Farm Labor Housing loans and grants provides loans to farmers, associations or farmers, family-farm corporations, Native American Tribes, non-profits and public agencies. These loans are offered, often when applicants cannot get a line of credit elsewhere.
  • The final program is the guaranteed rental housing program. The program aims to increase moderately-priced housing in rural areas by partnering with major lending institutions, finance agencies, and bond issuers to provide loans to housing projects. This is very similar to their Rural Rental Housing loans. Through that program USDA directly gives loans to individuals or groups looking to build apartments for very-low to moderate income families.

 Lastly, all of this information including specific qualification and application instructions can be found online by clicking here.

One-Act Play Begins Series of Contests, Performances

-Traveled to St. Cloud on Monday; Public Performances Jan. 26 and 27

Pine City High School’s One-Act Play, “slasreveR neveS,” took part in its first festival at St. Cloud State University on Monday, performing alongside outstanding competition from as far away as Eveleth-Gilbert, Eden Valley-Watkins, Delano, and Sauk Rapids-Rice.  Pine City’s unusual comedy stood up well at this early invitational but demonstrated that work still needs to be done before Sub-Section Festival on Saturday, January 28.

“The play we have selected this year is extremely challenging to both the actors and audience, but it has also been a really fun process,” says director Brad Mariska.  “The students are really stretching themselves as actors and technicians.  We’re not quite there yet, but I look forward to sharing this with the community on January 26 and 27.”

The play, which spells “Seven Reversals” when read backwards, is a creative comedy penned by Alan Haehnel in 2005 and attempts to lampoon theatrical convention – and convention in general – through a series of seven short scenes that reverse common assumptions of language, emotion, and plot.  The cast consists of 17 students and two crew members.

Pine City will also compete at a festival in Cambridge on Friday and host an exchange with Mora on Tuesday before their public performances for Pine City audiences on January 26 and 27 at 7pm.   Admission to the play is only $2, which will be donated to the Pine Community Food Shelf.

Pine City looks to qualify for the Section Finals for the fifth year running.  The local thespians have been one of the area’s most successful programs since 2008, with critically lauded productions of “A Thousand Cranes,” “All in the Timing,” “The Exonerated,” and “The Arkansaw Bear.”

46th Annual Ice Fishing Derby

The 46th Annual Ice Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Snake River Valley Conservation Club, will take place after all.   Despite warmer-than-usual temps so far this winter, organizers say there is enough ice to make for a successful event on the south side of Pokegama Lake this weekend, by Muffie’s on the Lake, which is located at 13646 Muffies Lane.

The event takes place Sunday, Jan. 15, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to anyone.  Door prizes consist of cash prizes.  See you on the ice!  Here’s a scene from the 40th annual derby…  Enjoy!